ALBANY — Well, it’s certainly been a week for the University at Albany men’s lacrosse team.
The Great Danes lost games last Saturday and Tuesday.
The team’s best player was ineligible, then he wasn’t.
Their head coach took on the NCAA in a way that left the school’s athletic director “compelled to publicly repudiate” his words.
And, now, the Great Danes have to face No. 7 Maryland at 1 p.m. Saturday at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium with the prospect of losing their fourth game in five tries staring at them.
So what are they to do?
“You’ve just got to move forward,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said.
From start to finish, @dgazette coverage of the Marr/NCAA situation:
Nanticoke out: https://t.co/iuVgamKWOp
The controversy: https://t.co/FKjLuOKMvq
The reaction: https://t.co/XHioME0six
The apology: https://t.co/Jjz3KUME7n
— Michael Kelly (@ByMichaelKelly) March 7, 2019
That was too tough to do Tuesday for UAlbany, as it fell 14-8 to UMass a day after Marr likened the NCAA to a “big-brother monopoly” after sophomore Tehoka Nanticoke was ruled temporarily ineligible for committing a secondary violation that stemmed from an Instagram post he made that appeared to promote a business. The Nanticoke situation coupled with Marr’s comments and the backlash to them from the NCAA — which issued a pair of statements on the matter — led to what the coach called a “distraction” for his team and himself.
A day after UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson issued a statement calling Marr’s comments “unacceptable,” the veteran head coach who led the Great Danes to the national semifinals a year ago said in a phone interview that the episode is behind his program.
“We’re not a look-backwards team. We’re a look-forwards team, and that’s the kind of person I am,” said Marr, who regained Nanticoke for Tuesday’s game and going forward. “We can’t sit around and sulk or make excuses.”
Especially against a Maryland team that is 5-1 on the season, and coming off that lone loss.
“For us to win — to have a chance to win — we have to go back to basics,” said Marr, whose team has struggled to a 1-3 start after experiencing severe personnel losses from a year ago. “We have to catch and throw. We have to get ground balls. We can’t turn it over. We’ve got to play a near-perfect game.”
UAlbany has been sound on defense this season. The issue has been the team’s offense, normally the top strength of the program. UAlbany is averaging 8.0 goals per game this season after averaging 14.4 last year.
“It’s about us playing together,” Marr said. “Playing as a unit. At times, during the games, when we’ve gotten stagnant, it’s because we haven’t moved the ball quick enough or we haven’t moved off the ball well enough.”
UAlbany has already lost as many games this season as it did all of last season.
So what is there to do for the Great Danes?
The only thing they can do after a tough start and a long week.
“We’re moving forward,” Marr said.